Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just one more..

In little over 1 hour I will be on a mini but MUCH NEEDED vacation. I'm completely burnt out, and God knows how much I'm looking forward to not going to "the W word" until Tuesday! Then I'm off again Thursday thru Tuesday of the following week. Lot's of cool things happening over these next 2 weeks - a surprise trip that will include a road ride in a recently discovered awesome part of the midwest,  R and R in the Mexican sunshine, and both are brought to you by an EPIC event that takes place tomorrow.... CAN'T WAIT!! LOVE is in the air ;)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fate and Flats

 I was all set to do a team ride Saturday morning, I never go to the team rides because they are up north, and I'm down south. The amount of time driving up to the start and back equals about 1 1/2 hours of riding time, and since I'm already pressed for time it's not worth it. Saturday's ride was different because it was a memorial ride, and they were going to cover 150 miles. Those 2 things caught my attention. Regardless of my apprehensions to do this grandiose "event", I packed up the car and headed up north. Stressed, I became turned around but landed up finding the start location with time to spare. The thing that sat in the back of my mind was the fact that my odometer read 666 when I started. Add to that, I was listening to Black Sabbath (with Ronnie James Dio) on the way up there which apparently didn't help. So off we go, and about 20 minutes out I get a flat. First flat of the year. Some very cool teammates assisted, and I replaced the tube in just a couple minutes - nascar pit crew style ;) About 10 minutes later same tire goes flat. WTF?! First time on the team ride, and I'm having a flat fest. I was then down to my last tube, and figured 10 miles into a 150 mile ride with 2 flats means I need to reconsider. I reluctantly told the group that pulled over with me to go. After a very brief bit of coaxing, off they went, and I proceeded to NOT throw my wheel or bike Bjarne Riis style across the grass or road. Instead, I sat on the curb perplexed and as deflated as the tube. Checking the tire I found that a shard of glass cut a quarter inch slot in the top of the Vittoria Open Pave EVO CG tire which I was riding to make the bike a bulletproof Paris Roubaix mobile... The ride was over, and the tire was trashed. I put the last tube in, and once again had the opportunity to test out the CO2 inflator that I never had the need to use. Back to the car I went. There were a LOT of thoughts going thru my head as I rode back. This has been hurdle after hurdle, and the events that transpired that morning were poetic. I landed up getting outside of my self by going to watch my Niece play in a baseball game, and it was the first time I had the chance to see her play. I then took the kids to a park they wanted to go to, and sat and read a local athlete magazine while they enjoyed the afternoon weather. I (once again) found great satisfaction in being there for them. A call and visit to the local shop and the bike is now setup with Continental Grand Prix 4000's and looks good. I took advantage of some store credit and it was a sweet deal on top of a weekend 20% off they were already offering.I went out Sunday midday for a ride and the new tires ride nicely. It was a hot one but it was a good ride. I even rode with my new Sidi shoes that I've been putting off setting up because of the pain in setting up new cleats/shoes, and I think I'm close to having em good to go. New tires new shoes and a bit of clarity over what transpired "Sometimes you simply have to go home" is one of the thousand things I talked thru with Anne, at a party later Saturday afternoon, and she knows what I meant...

Friday, May 21, 2010


The night before while packing up the car, "don't need arm warmers, don't need rain jacket..."Last night I got off the train to go ride with a local group. It started to drizzle as I stepped off the train. As I got closer to the meet up location the rain began (and pretty much didn't stop until we were close to being done). So off we went temps in the 60s, rain coming down. A group of half a dozen or so of us. Couldn't see with glasses on, couldn't see with glasses off, but we managed to ride a fast moving paceline for a good number of miles in the pouring rain. It was a good ride. 40 miles....I felt good, I was among a good group. Some good jumps, some good efforts. Just what the doctor ordered. I'l be back...
Drying out the bike and gear for tomorrows adventure. Not sure what to expect, but the weather is supposed to be warm. The route is new to me, and the distance is loooong. It's with the team I'm on, and I hope it's as good of an experience as last nights, if anything else, the reason I'm doing it is a good one, and I'm looking forward to spending some time in the saddle with the team I'm on...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The MOB Rules!

OK. there is my official  homage to the passing of Ronnie James Dio... A great singer in a great band. Anyway, more to the point, tonight I am riding with a group I've been hoping to work my busy schedule around, and since there are no soccer games or track meets to attend I'm finally able to get together with some south side (READ close to the house) riders. I'm looking forward to getting out with them for some much needed riding and stress relief :) It's a beautiful day with the sun shining and temps in the 70's.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Bit of Clarity

This past weekend was a good one. Saturday morning I set out for an early morning road ride. I wanted to get some miles in my legs in preparation (or consideration) for a ride I want to do this coming Saturday (it's a memorial ride for a deceased rider on my current team that I've mentioned previously).  Bright and early, and off I went toward the roads south of Yankee woods. The roads I frequented when I raced/road with the South Chicago Wheelmen. I did see one of them and exchanged a friendly wave, but I don't think he recognized me... I met up with a rider about half way out and he asked to tag along, so off we went. As the time passed and the conversation turned to riding and racing it turns out he knows guys I rode with years ago. The same guys that formed the tight nit click that road together back then. Small world, but then again cycling in the US is a small world already. It was cool to relate nonetheless. Where I usually start making my way back home I decided to add part of my 20 mile hilly loop for some extra time and miles. Felt good to be out there. Clarity comes at times such as this, more so than any other time it seems. I was riding long, I was LOVING it. I felt perfectly setup on the bike, all the recent tweaks I made made me feel like I am sitting in my sweet spot. IT"S MAGICAL when you get it all figured out, and the riding is smooth and (in my head) pro-like because the OCD that inflicts your riding world shows results LOL. I realized that I am riding for the love of the bike, for the love of the ride. All self doubts about being over my head with my involvement with something that I can't or (choose not to) live up to based possibly on crazy self expectations went by the wayside. I'm riding because it is part of me. Sure I may not be with and where I want to be, but that no longer matters. I am not living up to anything other than the fact I can ride. No more freakin over not being able to race as much as I think I'm supposed to. Family comes first. Thats gospel... No more thinking I'm in over my head, and inferior. I'm as good as I will be able to get, family, physical, pshychologicall (LOL)limitations and all. I will continue to work in the pain cave, and do everything I can to improve upon my own performance. It's all about me, and the love of the bike... It's crazy how that inner voice can really FCUK with you. I've realized that  lately. So I did 70 miles Saturday. It was a neccessary ride to put things into perspective and remind me why I ride. I ride for me, and the love of the bike. It's a positive moral boost when you can head out and knock out a 70 miler like that without having the base miles (I think) everybody else I'm involved with(team) does. I'm still well under 1000 miles, and that's just how it is...
This week I'm hoping to ride with a local group that I've not been able to hook up with because of my involvement in coaching one of my boys Soccer teams this spring. Their rides and spring soccer games during the week have made it impossible so far to meet up. We're in the playoffs and that is AWESOME, and it's SOOO rewarding to be involved with my kids as often as I can , and when they want me to be. I've already experienced that as they get older they don't want to do as much with you, and I CAN'T miss out on any opportunities if I can help it, and it will stay a priority.
I really want to get myself aquainted with these local riders, they are close by and the few times I've hooked up with them and traded emails they've been very cordial - A nice group of locals. That's the goal when I no longer have coaching obligations.  Saturday I plan on getting together up north with my current team. I feel it's important to ride with them (it's been impossible) and this memorial LOOOONG ride looks to be just the reason to make it happen. For a number of reasons.
 So it's been a season in turmoil mostly because of my unrealistic expectations on what I think I should be doing, and what I can do based on what I feel is important in my life right now,but realistically I've finally realized that what I should be doing is ride, when I can, and let everything else fall into place....
Like I told my gal while we were out Friday night, it's not a question of if I will continue to race and ride, it's how. Living a healthy lifestyle and doing something like this is a pretty good way in being a role model to my kids and family (and even neighbors and friends to a lesser extent) but the bottom line is I will ride for the love of the bike...
(and to think no Dr.couch, medications, or therapy costs were involved with this - and I feel better ;) )

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's all about setting goals

We'll I just pulled the trigger and ordered a set of HED 6 Aero wheels.Yeah,  I've got to do a bit of juggling by selling off a relatively new and lightly used hard tail mountain bike -Specialized Rockhopper Pro 17"(interested?!?) and assorted other cash raising tasks, but there's no doubt my ride will be wickedly cool and it's the single best investment to getting faster. I think I need to justify them by setting a goal, SOOOO
since one of the things I've yet to accomplish in my cycling career is breaking 1 Hour in the 40K timetrial, I've decided to work toward doing that. I'm REALLY excited, nothing (well maybe a few other things ;) ) excites me more than new bike stuff. The reviews are good, I trust the HED brand, and again, some 60mm aero wheels on the C40 has no downsides. Cancellera LOOK OUT!

The Quarryman Challenge recap

Busy week, I wanted to post shortly after the race but one thing after another... The story may have lost some of it's emotion but here goes.
Friday night while watching the news, the weather report called for strong(gusting at 30 plus MPH) winds, a drop in temps, and possibility of rain. They were pretty much spot on. I found myself awakened at about 3 in the morning by howling winds(I swear I heard the devil laughing)- the kind that startle you... GREAT! I thought,  I lay there  half hoping the tree next to my car would be blown on top of it eliminating my need to go to the morning's race. I was already pretty apprehensive about doing it because I haven't been feeling well recently. With minimal at best running miles in my legs (read about 3 or 4 runs in 4 to 6 weeks) I was already in a dilemma if I should do the 10 mile challenge, or show up and run the 5k. Really, I was shaken by a few events lately, and wasn't sure if a 10 mile SUPER hilly run with no training would be such a good idea. In the morning the temps were cool/chilly/cold, the winds were blowing, and the drizzle was drizzling. That definitley added to my apprehension to even go, but off I went. While driving to the race (and freakin in the car LOL) I ultimately decided that the 5K was not an option. It just isn't in me to back down (if I show up). I got there early, I paced back and forth, hit the portapotty about 211 times, then proceeded to the start line with IPOD ready and armed.NOTE I've never ran a race with an IPOD.WELL,,,, the race was EPIC. The organizers combined every hill they could into a 10 mile event, which gave creedence to their choice as Chicago's best hilly running race. We found ourselves looping around and running up (and down) the  monster climb of the area not once, but twice. It was this hill I love to climb on the bike, and the 5k didn't include it. That was one of the reasons I didn't do the 5k.... The BIG climb came after only 1 mile, so the heart rate immediately skyrocketed, the lactic acid built up, and I  questioned myself as to the smartness in doing this. To add to the millions of thoughts running thru my head, I was passed up right before the climb by a runner juggling 3 balls. MIND GAMES!! FCUK him LOL! I eyed my heart rate monitor thruought the race and aside from clipping my Anaerobic threshold on the climbs(not sure how one keeps a low HR when running (or riding)up big climbs, I managed to keep it at race pace values. By mile 7 or 8 a few of the climbs were  punishing, and I did see a number of people succumbing to the pain, and walking, but onward I continued. Then PRINCE came on the IPOD, and I got my 2nd wind LOL Ain't PRINCE WAAAY cool?! The pace slowly quickened, and I began reeling in runners in the distance- CONSISTENTLY. From about mile 8.5 to 9.5 it was almost all downhill  and I had to keep from winding out which would NOT have been a good thing. I let gravity take control with just the right amount of reserve.On the finishing stretch, I again picked it up, with a great kick the last 200 yards, picking off a bunch of competitors I seen slip away early on. That ROCKED! No training, aside from some riding, and a very few runs, and I did it with some pretty good results. I finished in the top 1/3rd.  MUCH better than I thought. The after race goodies included (check this out) a whole bunch of pizzas, Italian chicken breast sandwiches, Guacamole, Salsa and chips individually packed, and there was even an over 21 section handing out Margaritas or some other type of cocktail. They paid ya back for the effort just endured. :)

 The following day I was pretty wiped out, and sore. If I had a better base mileage going into it, it wouldn't have been such a rough day, that and the fact I'm in my 40s, and the body needs a bit more time to recover, but I'd rather blame it on the minimal training. The following morning I did the annual Mothers day Susan J Komen Breast Cancer walk with my family, and I'm sure the walk helped speed my recovery.
 SOOO I still have it :)  It would be nice to have more free time to sharpen it though. Someday.....

I did not experience any negative physical issues after I was done (the ones that have recently shaken me). I ultimately realized my issues are not physical activity related, rather they are more than likely EXTREME stress related. It's something I no doubt have to figure out how to address. The good news is my physical prowess can only help in my upward battle with what I think to be stress related issues.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Quarryman Challenge Results

While driving to the race I came to terms with the fact that the 5k was NOT an option, that's just who I am....I've got a good story but no time to type. Check back later :)
Ray B.

bib number: 143
age: 43
gender: M
overall place: 117 out of 316
division place: 24 out of 44
gender place: 101 out of 219
time: 1:21:22
pace: 8:09

Friday, May 7, 2010

Just DO IT

Well tommorow is the Quarryman. I haven't been running much lately and I had signed up to do the 10 miler. I can run 10 miles. no problem... BUT this is a brutally hilly run, and with little training I run the risk of injury. There is a 5k option, and since I am not really focused on running, I have been thinking it's the smarter decision to do the shorter race. The thing is, every so often the competive voice pops up in my head like that devil in Animal house telling me to "DO IT" fcuk the minimal training time and flex my competitive muscle. Show em once again that I can show up with little training and get to the finish. Not sure how this is going to play out. I guess I will see what voice prevails in the AM
Work has been UNBELIEVABLY STRESSFULLLLLLLL lately. So much that my head is spinning.Yesterday was a rough one with 2 back to back hi profile project meetings including multiple corporate soulless parties that simply rob me of minutes on my life. I tried to fight it but landed up bringing it home. I finally bounced back when the youth soccer team I help coach won yet another and their final game of the season. Getting outside of myself helps, and boy#2 saved the day. Well its Friday (I'm in Love ;) ) and upon waking up and checking email, found out I was one of the chosen presalers to get hold of Roger Waters The Wall concert tickets for a September show. It's crazy, the cost of the tickets was the same as a refund I just recieved back from the Telemark lodge which just closed its doors. Telemark WAS the host lodge for Septembers fat tire festival in Hayward Wi. I'm lookin forward to that one.
 So Knowing Roger Waters and seeing the Radio KAOS tour back in 87 (and a few other times), I know this ones going to be EPIC, come on... it's Pink!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's great how God listens

I rode last night. It was a good ride, and I decided to take some me time and extend it to a 2 plus hour ride. I felt good. I covered the hills thru Bluff road nicely. I was faced with a killer headwind going out there, but it didn't matter. When I got back home I felt good. I wasn't wiped out. I wasn't feeling any ill effects that have reared themselves lately. I understand that to mean riding wasn't causing a recent concern. I felt good as the nightr went on. Again I equate this to riding not being the issue. While I was riding I decided to regroup during the month of May and simply get riding time in. I'l go from there... No pressures, just ride for the love of the bike. Then later in the evening comes an email from the coach of the team I'm on. It's about a  memorial ride on May 22nd in honor of a cyclist who died back in '99. '99 is when I was full swing into racing and probably had my best year. Crazy, a memorial ride for a cyclist on the team I'm on who past away when I raced (in a previous life...) I've had concerns being on the team I'm on, mostly my own shortcomings, and now I have this opportunity to do an epic ride at the end of May with teammates that I have not really felt a part of. It's strange how things happen, it seems like this is an answer to address a number of things swirling in my head, to do something for a rider who no doubt loved the sport, a rider who raced when I was a racer, to be a part of the team that I don't feel part of. All at a time when I decided to spend the month of May simply riding and going from there. It's like I've been heard from above... A small step out of the valley? That's how it seems. I think I'm going to really make an effort to do this. It seems like the right thing to do.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yet another WHAT a wild ride

I had another occurence of reading someones recent blog post and seeing that it was touching on something I'm in the middle of. Kinda Cool, Creepy, and Comforting all at the same time.It talked about being in a valley and clawing your way out. Going thru something you think will break you. I'm there. I am optomistic (I try to be as often as I can) that I will grow from these situations and be better off when I DO get thru them, and I will get thru them. Sometimes what you plan for doesn't always work, sometimes what you do isn't what you ultimately wanted the end result to turn out to be. I've had to jump off and get grounded on a number of areas. I joined a race team this year, on paper I planned on getting back to where I left off when I semi-retired. I've been all over the place with it.  I've  made myself sick trying to force it to work. Ultimately, I will ride because I love to ride- You have NO idea how much... That in and of itself will keep me (on a team), and on the bike. My running is almost non existent, and I was (again) going to force myself thru an epic hill 10 mile race Saturday. I started throwing longer and harder runs in during a VERY short period and my body did a few things lately that startled me. I had to hit the breaks. I am not going to be foolish enough to attempt a 10 mile hilliest race in the region on no training. I will risk injury and possibly worse... I'm going to go do the 5k route instead. I was going to do the Madison to Chicago relay(with my son on the team). NO ruunning and a short period of time to cram training in. I'm already down on the fact that my riding is suffering. So for a few different reasons I opted out of the run. I feel like I haveto hit the breaks and take stock instead of forcing everything. They say your powerless over people places and things. It's true. So I jumped off and am getting grounded. I have no expectations. Forget the fact that May is a bad month to race because of birthdays and anniversaries. Forget that the beginning of June is vacation and even more opportunities to race won't work out....
To quote someone that moved me recently." ...Because at the bottom of every valley is an incline to get out. And once you've stumbled and rolled down that hill, kicking and screaming and crying, thinking your spirit is broken, never to be recovered, you find you actually have the strength to pick yourself back up and charge the hill"
Like I said I'm there....

Oh yeah, I did sell my up front Alice Cooper tickets and the money recouped did allow us to more easily afford a REAL sweet hi def TV. The picture on the new set blows my mind, and the last TV was nice...

I still have the hockey playoff beard thing going, and I've been told I'm starting to get the Jesus look going. "Peace Be With You" was my reply LOL I'm doing it thru the rest of this playoff round...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I'd kill Alice for a new TV

Well kind of...
Our TV/Home Theater TV died last weekend. I KNOW TV's are not the most important thing in the world. Especially coming from a family of active people. BUT, I'l admit we stare at it on a daily basis, it can make for (and does) family together time, and I try to have family movie night once every week or 2. The stereo that surrounds the TV makes for some excellent audio. So I've been trying to figure out what to do when we were faced with taking out the dead TV and putting an itty bitty 20 something inch TV in its place from the days before carbon race frames and full suspension LOL. I don't like the idea of running up the VISA bill, and decided to do a bit of damage contol before we use it. I decided to try and get hold of the Holiday Star Theater and see if I could get my overnight stay with front row Alice Cooper tickets refunded. After talking to a sypathetic supervisor they agreed, For those of you that know me, I REALLY dig Alice Cooper. Moment of silence........................................................................................................
The strange thing is the last time he was in town I had up front seats and a storm the days before flooded out a section of highway that led to the venue. I found myself trapped on the road unable to exit for a long time So long that by the time I managed to get to an exit it was much too late and we had to turn around and go back home. We never made it to the venue and my up front tickets went unused. Is the evilness that surrounds Alice thwarting my attempt to see him again?! hmm. So the money I saved by getting a refund will make it easier to swallow swiping the card for a big (unscheduled) purpose.
The good news? The VS channel is back on direct TV, and I will be able to watch Leige Bastogne Leige this afternoon maybe on big screen in all its hi def glory LOL
. Today is day 4 with the playoff beard... WTF was I thinkin? I think I will continue to grow it until they loose a game. I've never done this =ITS crazy (or am I crazy?) GO HAWKS